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School House #17 in Springwater NY

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The Punky Hollow School House #17 in Springwater NY was the site of the Old Home Day reunion for 50 years. Photo courtesy of Douglas Morgan.

School #17 Springwater NY

Located on Pardee Hollow Road.

Old Home Days at Punky Hollow School

Editor’s Note: The Old Home Days were school class reunions held for 50 years by the students who attended the Punky Hollow School #17 in Springwater NY.

The first Old Home Day reunion was held on 18 August 1923 at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Cook. It was at the third reunion on 8 August 1925 that the reunions began to be held at the Punky Hollow School house.

Here is a collection of newspaper articles which chronicle the history of the school and the Old Home Day reunions.

Punky Hollow School

From an Unknown Contributor, November 1939

Editor’s note: I was greatly pleased to receive the following card, dated October 8, 1939:

Mrs. Clara Mack,

Punky Hollow was named after a man by the name of Punky, an early settler. Across from the school house the place passed from him to Peter Y. Purcell, from Purcell to Reckford, his son, father of Ella Partridge, Libbie Hyde, and Frank Purcell. The present owner is Charles Cook.

I went to school there seventy-four years ago and could name every family in that school district that far back. My father remembered the old man Punky.

Harvey Robinson, Wayland R. D. 1

Editor’s note: It is remarkable that a man who went to school seventy-four years ago is able to write so clearly and just as remarkable that he was sufficiently interested to send this writer a card.

Thank you Mr. Robinson.

Mrs. George Thorpe of Wayland informs me that Punky Hollow was so named because of a family of Richardson’s who resided in that section. The male head of the house was, for some unknown reason, saddled with the title of “Punky,” hence Punky Hollow.

When a new school house was erected the good citizens wanted to change the name. They felt that the term “Punky” was too questionable and lacking in dignity. Consequently, a big sign reading “East Springwater District” was put above the blackboard so the students would get the notion of dropping the old name. But regardless of these efforts, district number 17 continues to be designated by the romantic and colorful words, Punky Hollow. Personally, I hope they never try to change it again.

Couldn’t Change Name of Punky Hollow School

From Wayland Register, 3 August 1950

Punky Hollow school house, now owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Lindsay, has been the scene of annual reunions for over half a century. Last spring members of the district voted to sell the property, thus ending its last formal tie with education.

This building was erected in 1875, built by Seth Foster and Arthur Hunt. It replaced a building which had burned. Wesley Guile was the first teacher.

The story goes that the school and hollow got their name from a family living in the hollow district. After it had been known by the Punky Hollow title for some time, a few residents objected and tried to fasten the name of “East Springwater” school onto it. The new title didn’t take and Punky Hollow it was in the last century, and Punky Hollow it remains today.

Memories Stir at Old Home Day in Punky Hollow School

From Wayland Register, 18 August 1983

The recent gathering of past and present Springwater residents for Punky Hollow Old Home Day was the 59th time with the first event recorded on Aug. 18, 1923, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Cook.

There were 166 present at the initial reunion and the first officers were Hugh Campbell, president; Wirt E. Wetmore, vice-president; and Jennie L. Wetmore, secretary-treasurer.

This year’s gathering was held at Harriet Hollister Park with close to 40 attending. Daisy Conrad attended both the first and the most recent Old Home Day. At 101 years old she was able to share memories of many past reunions she had attended. New officers elected this year were Ray Conrad, president; Tom Mitchell, vice-president; Sarah Furia, secretary-treasurer; and Greg Furia, entertainment.

History of past Old Home Days record that the third annual reunion was held at the Punky Hollow School House on Aug. 8, 1925 and 239 attended. Harry Shaver received $35.64 for the lumber used in making the tables and benches which were insured by the Ladies Aid along with the church sheds.

A letter written by Oscar Ray and recorded in the minutes of 1924 reads as follows: “In the middle of the 1840’s I commenced to attend school at Tabors Corners. Then it had mail by the Canandaigua-Dansville route.

The first master and others openly dealt out intoxicants in tree places near the school house. Dances were frequently with some fights. The old wood colored school house soon burned. While the new red one was being built, school was held in an old log house, that stood back of the old Hausen shop.” Signed: Oscar and Sarah Thomason Ray. P.S. “I forgot to quote the price of whiskey which was 25 cents a gallon.”

In 1932, a play called “The Morning Callers” was put on by Lizzie Cook, Margaret Peglow, Grace Wolfanger and children, and Helen Wolfanger. Rev. Montgomery Branch, a missionary of India surprised everyone with his presence and gave a very interesting talk.

A motion was made and seconded to buy an organ from Mrs. Slingerland to use at community gatherings in 1934.

There were 275 present on Aug. 1, 1936, recorded as having traveled from Wayland, Springwater, Atlanta, North Cohocton, Rochester, Canandaigua, Livonia, Naples, Fairport, Macedon, Waterloo, Red Creek, Andover, LeRoy, Ithaca, Hornell, and Angelica.

A $5 donation was given to the EUB Church in Wayland toward the chimes in memory of Mr. and Mrs. Charles Cook in 1956. The Cooks were members of this church. Old Home Day was held on their lawn for many years.

Editor’s Note: Maxine Averill is the historian for Old Home Days and shared these happenings from the past. She adds that there is a complete secretary’s book filled with such events which they would be happy to share with interested parties and she is sure would “bring back many pleasant memories,” for a lot older residents and would serve to acquaint new members with the lengthy history.

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